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A musician hacked his prosthetic arm to control synthesizers with his mind

The future is now.

bertolt meyer with prosthetic arm
Image: Bertolt Meyer / Facebook

A professor of psychology at the Chemnitz’s University of Technology, Bertolt Meyer, has revealed via YouTube how he has mastered technology to control his synthesizers with his mind. Meyer was born without the lower portion of his left arm, but that hasn’t stopped him from learning how to use electronic instruments…or finding innovative new ways to control them.

Strong Arm

bertolt meyer with prosthetic arm

Image: Bertolt Meyer / Facebook

Aside from his university position, Meyer is – as you might have guessed – a keen musician, as well as a DJ. With music technology getting smaller and allowing increased control over sound parameters, Bertolt found that he was struggling to operate the fiddly, small controls that many synths feature.

The prosthetic arm that he uses is known as an iLimb. It uses the electronic signals created by Bertolt’s thoughts to control the arm’s movements – this was clearly something that an expert in psychology knew he could exploit, and so he set about modding his iLimb in order that he can manipulate his synthesizers without actually touching them.

KOMA Elektronik + prosthetic = mind-controlled synthesizers

Bertolt teamed up with KOMA Elektronik, a company that specializes in the design and manufacture of modular synthesizers. With the help of their engineers, he has successfully developed what he has named the SynLimb. The SynLimb is extraordinary as it uses the neural signals from his brain to control the synthesizers he hooks up to the prosthetic, rather than controlling the movement of, say, the arm’s detachable gripping device.

You can check out the process in the video above – it is truly awe-inspiring to see Bertolt’s plans unfold into something with which he is able to manipulate sound using just his thoughts. As a fan of electronic music myself, this is something that really inspired awe.

Truly amazing. Do you know of any other prosthetic hacks? Have you hacked your own prosthetic? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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